Talk of the Trail

January/February 2017

Talk of the Trail is written by students at Forest Trail Academy. For more information, please visit or call 800.890.6269.


We would like to congratulate Brooke in her participation in the United States Equestrian Federation's (USEF) Equestrian Athlete Lettering program. This program was developed to provide recognition for the accomplishments of young equestrians and encourage their future involvement in equestrian sport.

USEF recognizes the dedication of equestrians preparing for competition through practice and training sessions as similar to other students in athletic programs and developed this program to honor individual achievements with a varsity letter in the student's chosen sport, regardless of the availability of an equestrian team or club through their school.

Participants in the program must be students in grades 5-12 who document at least 100 hours of training and provide verification of participation in three equestrian competitions during the year. After completing these requirements and verification, the student will receive a certificate commemorating their achievements, a varsity letterman patch and lapel pin for each year of participation. You will be notified of their completion of the program and sent the certificate and congratulatory letter.

USEF is the National Governing Body for Equestrian Sports in the United States, sanctioned by the United States Olympic Committee pursuant to the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. As such, USEF acts as the regulatory body for the International and Olympic disciplines as well as for 26 breeds and disciplines. The USEF is further responsible for sanctioning approximately 2,600 equestrian competitions annually; and educating and licensing judges, technical delegates, and stewards who officiate at such competitions. The USEF Equestrian Athlete Lettering Program encompasses young equestrians involved in all breeds and disciplines from the grassroots to international competitions.

There is not always time for other sports or extracurricular activities when involved in equestrian sport because it can be a year round commitment. Fortunately, many schools are now starting to incorporate equestrian sport into their offered activities. Throughout the country various riding associations promote equestrian riding teams and clubs to junior, middle and high schools. More information about establishing an equestrian team or club in your school is available at


by Zary

It was 2014, when I first got a taste of Space Camp at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Cape Canaveral, Florida. As soon as I entered, I knew this was a one-of-a-kind experience at a one-of-a-kind place. I was up very early the first morning for camp – eager with excitement! I was armed with my space camp uniform and had already read the orientation documents. By 8:00am, I was placed in a group that merged students from Grade 4 and 5. We were briefed about the rules of the camp and the space center.

My group started some experiments as the first thing on the agenda for the five-day week. We used a marshmallow in a vacuum as an experiment; then we explained how it worked. We did many more experiments that made us understand the concept of gravity. Then we took a trip to a space simulation, where we learned how to climb ladders in space in zero gravity, which was astonishing. After some snacks, we did some formulas and rode a gyroscope, which was really fun.

On day two we did some real life Angry Birds™, which tested the laws of trajectory. We spent that day experimenting with gravity, trajectory and calculating formulas. On day three, we did a G-force test and I passed! The tip is to just keep smiling. We then explained how G-force works and spent the day doing further experiments on G-force.

Day four was spent learning all about rockets! We took a trip to the Kennedy Rocket Garden to observe rocket ships and we were taught how rockets work. We then spent the balance of that day back at KSC, learning how to make rockets. That day was particularly memorable as we did a rocket simulation! I did some cool experiments onboard the rocket and was placed in charge of a function in the rocket simulator: to change the oxygen tanks.

On the final day, we got to meet and interview an astronaut and we got special access to KSC Park, where there were a lot of cool rides and museums. We also got access to a whole bunch of games exclusive to Space Camp. I graduated with my parent present that same day, as the youngest member of my group (I was eight at the time). Overall, it was an awesome experience and it re-confirmed what I want to be – a future astronaut.